Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pope Francis says Oscar Romero faced ‘slander’ from clergy

Pilgrims carry a portrait of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero to Romero's beatification ceremony in San Salvador, El Salvador, in May. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

By Inés San Martín CRUX October 30, 2015

In a signal that sainthood for Latin America’s most famous contemporary martyr may not be far off, Pope Francis on Friday praised El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero and said his suffering continued after his 1980 assassination in the form of unjustified ‘slander.’

‘He was defamed, slandered, his memory despoiled, and his martyrdom was continued, even by his own brothers in the priesthood and the episcopacy,’ Francis said, in unusually blunt remarks to a delegation from El Salvador visiting Rome.

Romero was shot to death in 1980 while celebrating Mass, during a period of social revolt fueled by poverty and abuses of power. He was beatified in May 2015 in San Salvador, in one of the largest religious gatherings in the history of Central America.

Romero’s death helped trigger a bloody civil war that went on from 1980 to 1992, with fighting between Communist guerrillas and a US-backed right-wing military government, reaching a death toll of more than 75,000 people.

In the years since his death, many critics, including some senior Latin American prelates and Vatican officials, argued that Romero wasn’t killed for his faith but for political reasons, pointing to his opposition to a right-wing Salvadorian government accused of widespread human rights abuses……. ‘It’s nice to also remember him like this: a man who continues his martyrdom,’ Francis said, straying from his prepared remarks. ‘[Romero is] a man who, after having given his life, [was] continuously whipped by incomprehension and calumnies.’

‘How many times those who have given their lives continue being struck with the hardest stone there is: The tongue!’ the pope said, before leading the group in a prayer.

No one has ever been prosecuted for Romero’s assassination, but in 1993 a United Nations investigation concluded a right-wing politician with links to El Salvador’s military orchestrated the attack………………

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